American Bobtail Cat Breed

American Bobtail Cat Breed - Facts and Personality Traits

The American Bobtail is a rare breed of domestic cat that originated in the United States. True to its name, this cat’s most distinguishing characteristic is its short tail, which is only about one-third the length of an ordinary cat tail.


The American Bobtail cat can catch dangling insects in midair, a testament to its hunting skill. But, you let its wild appearance deceive you—this cat has a very serene nature. The American Bobtail has a laid-back temperament, gets along with dogs, and is even welcoming to newcomers.


American Bobtail Cat Breed Origin & History

The American Bobtail emerged in the late 1960s. Developed by breeders in the United States, this feline is not your typical house cat. The Bobtail is derived from feral cats possessing a natural bobtail. Initially, it was thought that the American Bobtail was the outcome of breeding a domestic tabby and wild bobcat.


Later, experts discovered through genetic testing that the short-tail mutation resulted within the domestic cat population, particularly with the Manx gene, which is another cat breed with a shortened tail. As one backstory revealed, a couple named John and Brenda Sanders found a short-tailed tabby cat while on vacation in Arizona in the 1960s.


They brought the tomcat (who they later named Yodie) home to Iowa and mated him with the couple’s seal-point Siamese cat, Mishi. Some of the kittens were born with normal-length tails, while others had shortened tails. This fact suggested that a dominant gene caused Yodie’s bobbed tail. This was how the new breed of the American Bobtail cat evolved.


The American Bobtail cat breed’s appearance was later reformed to give rise to two lines with differing coats: The American Bobtail Longhair and American Bobtail Shorthair. Each variety comes in different colors. Due to its rarity and uniqueness, the American Bobtail cat is an expensive breed.


Other Names

The American Bobtail cat is referred to by its scientific name Felis Catus. There are about 12 subspecies of bobcats. Most subspecies of bobcats are associated with the location from which they originated. For instance, L. rufus californicus can be found in California, and L. rufus floridanus came from Florida.


The adorable and charming personality of the American Bobtail cats earned them the title “The Golden Retrievers of the Feline World.”


American Bobtail Cat Breed Personality

The American Bobtail cat is a peace-loving, quiet cat. The cat breed is a popular choice for families because of its affectionate, pleasant, and intelligent nature. Highly adjustable to new environments, this type of cat creates an emotional connection with the family, making it a lovely companion.


An American Bobtail can be described as obedient, peaceful, and warm, making it a great lap cat. This cat breed even shows its love towards guests. It can be a travel pet companion as well because of its adaptable nature. With its lively and sensitive disposition, the American Bobtail cat is often used as a therapy cat for people with depression.


Since it's highly compassionate towards human emotions, the Bobtails form deep bonds with their owners. Much to the enjoyment of its family members, the Bobtail loves going for walks. Plus, it’s easily leash-trained. A desirable companion for kids, this breed is known for communal play and hunting games.


The Bobtail’s playful character reveals itself when they play fetch, and they even enjoy the company of other cats and dogs. If you prefer an average-sized cat with wild looks, then the American Bobtail cat is perfect for you. This feline is highly sociable, clever, playful, and easy to train.


American Bobtail Cat Breed Characteristics (Physical)

A unique feature of the American Bobtail cat is its shortened tail. The tail is described as stout, stubby, and limber. It could either be curvy or straight, forming a sharp twist with significant bumps along its length. No two tails are ever alike. The female American Bobtail cat is smaller than the male, with plump whisker pads and a prominent chin.


American Bobtail cats possess a robust and well-built appearance. The hips of this breed are a bit higher with notable shoulder blades. This breed is hefty. Along with its distinctive physical characteristics and bobbed tail, this cat breeds highly resembles the wild bobcat.


American Bobtail Cat Breed Cat Size

The American Bobtail grows to about 9-10 inches at the shoulder.  It takes about 2 to 3 years before this cat reaches its full adult size. This breed is relatively long with a rectangular body.


Weight Range: (male and female)

The male American Bobtail cat weighs about 12- 16 pounds, while the female American Bobtail tips the scales at 7-11 pounds. American Bobtail cat is an average-sized cat. It has a muscular and well-built body.



The head of the American Bobtail cat can be described as broad and large. It is wedge-shaped with a visible whisker break above the broad, mid-sized muzzle.


Eye Color

The American Bobtail cats have prominently large, deep-set eyes. Their round, almond-shaped eyes come in copper, gold, yellow, green, and blue.



The ears of the American Bobtail cat are medium in size with round tips.


Legs and Paws

The legs of the American Bobtail cats are usually long and black. These lean, muscular legs allow them to jump to at least 6 feet high. The American Bobtail’s hind legs are slightly longer than their front legs, and they have large, round feet. The disparity in limb length gives the Bobtail cat a crouching stance.



There are two types of the American Bobtail: The Long Haired Bobtail and the Short Haired Bobtail. Both breeds come in different colors, and both coats are very dense. The Long Haired American Bobtail has slightly bushy, medium to long fur that is longer on its belly and legs, with the longest tuft of fur found on its tail. The feel of the coat is lush and supple.


On the contrary, the Short Haired American Bobtail has a thick and heavy coat, which is medium in length. It is also non-matting and pliant. The topcoat is stiff, while the undercoat is velvety and soft. The coat comes in various patterns and hues. American Bobtail cats come in white, black, red, blue, cream, chocolate, fawn, cinnamon, and lavender.


Some Bobtail cats have dark markings against a lighter base, while some are solid in color with no fur patterns. The American Bobtail cat is considered to be a high-shedding breed and is not hypoallergenic. They can trigger allergies in their human family.


American Bobtail Cat Breed Lifespan

The American Bobtail cat’s life expectancy ranges from 13 to 15 years with a healthy lifestyle and adequate medical care. Owners of an American Bobtail cat should be made aware of the life expectancy of their pet. This critical piece of information guides your furry friend’s care as they grow older.


Many factors play an important role in your Bobtail’s life expectancy. Diet, environment, activity level, and overall health regimen all play a major part in keeping your cat healthy and comfortable.


Health Problems

The American Bobtail cat prefers to engage in little exercise and has low energy levels. So, it is essential to keep an eye on their weight. Since they are a playful breed, make sure to supply them with enough cat toys or puzzles. Give them ample space to walk around, climb, jump, and run. If your Bobtails are leash-trained, they will enjoy a walk around the block with their owners.


As for their dental health, make it a point to brush their teeth at least once a week to prevent periodontal disease. Give them plaque-controlling treats to boost their dental health. The American Bobtail is prone to a couple of diseases due to their genes and lifestyle.


Hip Dysplasia

This hereditary condition is characterized by joint issues in the hip joint area, lameness, and eventually, paralysis.


Lack of a Tail

Some American Bobtail cats that are born tailless are called “rumpies.” Being born without a tail can lead to spinal issues that can cause a host of other complications, like fecal incontinence.


Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

Another condition the American Bobtail cat is prone to experience is PKD. This disease occurs when cysts form in one or both kidneys.


Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

This condition occurs when there is an abnormal thickening of the heart muscles, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. Make sure to have your Bobtail vaccinated against viral diseases, and visit the vet regularly for checkups. Talk to your veterinarian about preventive health measures to guarantee your cat stays in excellent physical condition.


How to Care for an American Bobtail Cat

American Bobtail cats are fairly easy to take care of. Their coats do not tangle easily, and they only require brushing about twice a week of brushing to keep their fur shiny and healthy. A bath is hardly ever necessary.


Grooming Hygiene

Make it a habit to examine their ears weekly to look for signs of infection or injury. Remove any traces of rubble with a cotton pad or cloth dampened with 50-50 warm water and cider vinegar. Avoid using a cotton swab, as this may harm the inner ear structure. If your cat’s ears are extremely dirty, red, inflamed, or give off a funny smell, then it is best to bring them to the vet for treatment.


Using a soft, damp cloth, wipe the eyes to remove any traces of sleep crust. Do not use the same area of the cloth for each eye area, as you risk spreading eye infection if you do. Your Bobtail’s paws should not be neglected. Keep the paws healthy by trimming the nails once every few weeks. It is vital to check the paws and claws for infection or injury.


Keeping your Bobtail’s nails trimmed prevents your pet from scratching your furniture, legs, or anything else out of boredom. It’s best to give them a nice, tall scratching post and ample room to roam around to help them release this urge.



Having an active and lively temperament, American Bobtail cats should be taken out for walks and allowed to engage in playtime. They enjoy puzzle toys like food mazes, treat ball games, and massagers. Obesity due to a sedentary lifestyle is one of the problems that your Bobtail may face.


Diseases such as high blood pressure, kidney diseases, diabetes, and shorter lifespans are all attributed to an unhealthy weight. Never forego exercise. The American Bobtail loves to be in the company of other cats, so having a companion for playtime that doubles as an energetic romp are ideal.


Another entertaining activity to encourage a more active Bobtail is to turn your cat’s favorite enclosure into a playpen. Bobtail owners can select a plastic ball or bottle caps and turn this venture into an enjoyable game of kitty hockey. Owning a pet requires tremendous creativity to keep your cat from getting restless. It is best to provide a tall cat tree for your Bobtail to exercise, play, relax, and sleep on.


Other Care

American Bobtail cats are clean animals, and their sense of smell is very keen. Keeping a clean and pristine litter box encourages your pet to do its business in that designated space and not elsewhere. Vaccinate your cats at six to seven weeks old to prevent them from acquiring common feline diseases.


The customary vaccines include shots for Rabies, Feline Leukemia, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, and Rhinotracheitis. Take your cat to the vet annually for checkups. During annual exams, the vet will check for fleas, mites, intestinal parasites, and heartworms. You should also attach a microchip to your cat. The microchip is slipped under the cat’s skin and carries information about the owner.


Should the cat get lost and picked up by a vet or shelter, they can scan the chip and return the cat to its legal owner. It’s a good idea to keep your American Bobtail indoors. This prevents it from acquiring diseases from other cats, getting attacked by dogs, being stolen, or getting hit by cars.



The American Bobtail cats require proper nutrition to prevent them from gaining too much weight. Your vet can recommend the best cat food. When shopping for quality food, choose ones with high nutritional value. Keep an eye on their weight, and remember the amount of food they intake correlates to their gender. Male Bobtails are larger and heavier than females, and they may require more food.


However, the amount of food you give your cat ultimately depends on their activity level. A sedentary cat needs fewer calories than a more active cat. Try feeling the ribs of your Bobtail. As you place your finger underneath its fur, you should be able to feel the ribs without a layer of fat. This indicates your Bobtail cat is at a healthy weight.


Cats love routine, so consider giving them a consistent quantity of food at the same times daily. You should tailor your cat’s diet to their age. Kittens need plenty of protein and healthy fat found in poultry, beef, and pork. These nutrients help them grow and develop properly. Adult cats need fewer calories than kittens to maintain their ideal weight. Senior cats require easily digestible food with a lower protein content.


The Right Kind of Food

Buy quality cat food with a good source of protein as its top ingredient (beef, chicken, and fish). Highly beneficial cat food should also contain essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins, water, and fatty acids.


A high protein, low carbohydrate diet is best for your American Bobtail cat. The outcome is a healthy weight with more lean body mass. High protein, low-carb canned diets prevent your cat from constantly eating. Cats are more likely to feel fully satisfied when feeding on raw meat rather than dry food.


Children, Family, and Other Pets

The warm and easygoing American Bobtail cat loves to amuse itself. It thrives in the company of families, especially with young children. However, supervision must be guaranteed so that youngsters will not try to twist the tail or pull the whiskers of your pet Bobtail. Thanks to its good nature, the American Bobtail easily adapts to other cats and dogs.


Introduce the Bobtail cat to other household pets slowly to see if they all get along well. There is a high demand for the American Bobtail. Cats are not known to be loyal, but this breed, which expresses its love for human interaction, is a popular choice among families. Its remarkable intelligence, appealing physical features, and engaging personality make it one of the most popular cat breeds around.


More About This Breed

The American Bobtail cat, with its brutish features, can easily be mistaken for a wild cat. The breed is often misconceived for being short-tempered. However, this feline is 100% domesticated. The American Bobtail cat is different from its Asian counterparts, the Manx and the Japanese Bobtail. The American Bobtail litters are usually never born tailless.


If this ever occurs, a problem of defecation usually arises. An interesting fact about this breed is their affinity to gold and silver. Some owners claim this trait helps in cases where they misplace their precious jewelry, as Bobtails are easily attracted to these shiny metals. Typically, the American Bobtail cat makes a superb companion for traveling.


This particular breed loves an adventure, and they can withstand long car rides. Early training for long-distance travel is necessary so they won’t distract the driver or the other passengers. Do not be surprised if your Bobtail suddenly exhibits dog-like traits. In fact, they wag their stubby tails according to their mood and respond to their name when called.


Among the 43 distinguished cat breeds, the American Bobtail cat ranks 37th among the most in-demand felines. Due to its scarcity, the American Bobtail cat costs a pretty penny. The price point of this fur baby varies from breeder to breeder, ranging from $650 to $1,000.



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